9 Easy Tips To Light a Kitchen With Low Ceiling

I often find that rooms with low ceilings have awkward lighting unless the design has been made by an expert. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, check out these 9 simple tips on how to light a kitchen with a low ceiling.

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  1. Calculate your lumens
  2. Use uplighters
  3. Install LED strips
  4. Clear the way
  5. Get creative with your fixtures
  6. Use mirrors
  7. Create a focal point
  8. Use bright colors
  9. Go with minimalism

1. Calculate your lumens

Before making any big changes to your kitchen, calculate the ideal number of lumens for your space using this guide.

Knowing your lumen requirements will help you illuminate the entire space in a functional yet dramatic way without leaving any dark or under-lit areas.

The lumens needed to properly light a space depend on the square footage and functionality of the space. Although small spaces generally need less lumens, it is important to not under-light them because they will end up looking even smaller.

Make sure to not leave any dark corners!

2. Use uplighters

Uplighters are often used to light up walls and draw attention to design details. In this case, I am referring to any light source that directs or reflects the light upwards.

Light hitting the ceiling will bounce off and give a nice glow that makes the space appear taller than it actually is.

However, you need to be careful with your choice of fixtures, as you do not want them to be too tall or look too big in the kitchen.

reflective pendant kitchen

You also don’t want your fixtures to take up too much valuable space. Which brings us to tip no. 3.

3. Install LED strips

LED strips are an excellent choice for kitchens with low ceilings because they are very flexible and don’t take up space. You can use them under the cabinets, at the toe kick, or even as cove lighting to cover your ambient light needs.

Cove lighting in low ceilings is excellent because you avoid chandeliers or pendants and it is easier to install than recessed can lights.

Not only does LED cove lighting provide a dramatic, high-end look to the room, it’s also diffuse and gives off even lighting, which is a major plus for low ceilings.

kitchen parallel

4. Clear the way

Make sure that you’re not blocking your light sources with objects. Small kitchens can be packed with stuff and unavoidably end up with hidden lights.

You want to maximize the light so simply move around some stuff to allow your light sources to reach as much of the kitchen as possible.

5. Get creative with your fixtures

Have you noticed how kitchens almost never have floor or table lamps? Well, that’s for practicability and functionality.

Given the need for space in the kitchen and the fact that lamps usually illuminate a very specific task area, there’s not much use for them in the kitchen.


Low ceilings can sometimes make it hard to use hanging lights like pendants or chandeliers. This is where you need to get creative.

Using a floor lamp in the kitchen can actually be very refreshing if done properly.

Place it in a corner that is hardly used or walked through, use a lamp that diffuses the light as much as possible, and get a lamp shade that matches the aesthetic of your kitchen. A big white or light gray lampshade with a high-temperature bulb is neutral enough to fit most kitchens.

More importantly, if you do have chandeliers or pendants, consider switching them for flush or semi-flush mounts. Hanging lights can look awkward in rooms with low ceilings, and hanging them closer to the ceiling will remove some of the essence of the fixture.

You can also use wall sconces, a popular choice for low ceilings.

Wall sconces provide ambient and task lighting in a clean, modern look. The ideal placement would be over the sink if there are no cupboards.

kitchen sconces

6. Use mirrors

Mirrors can make the room appear much larger than it is.

If your kitchen allows it, place a large mirror across the window or a natural light source.

If you don’t like the idea of mirrors in the kitchen, or the space doesn’t allow it, maximize daylight by leaving the curtains open.

Pro Tip: Extra long white curtains will make your kitchen look taller than it is!

7. Create a focal point

A focal point is basically the first thing your eye lands on when you enter a new space.

By creating a focal point in the kitchen, you draw attention away from the low ceiling and make the space feel bigger.

This can be some design art or even an interesting floor lamp. Or something like this:

Modern and cute uplight for kitchen shelves

8. Use bright colors

White and bright colors make spaces look bigger than they are. This is not limited to the walls, so don’t worry, you don’t have to repaint the entire kitchen.

Simply opting for white tablecloths, curtains, or mats and rugs can make a big difference.

Floor lamp in kitchen

9. Go with minimalism

Small spaces can feel too cramped, especially when they are packed with stuff whether for design or for functionality.

Considering that the kitchen is possibly the most functional room of the house, remove any unnecessary design elements that take up space.

Keep your kitchen design minimal and clean, and this will definitely make it feel larger!

Wrapping up

Even though it can be tricky, it is definitely possible to light a kitchen with a low ceiling and make it look bigger than it actually is.

Just experiment and figure out what works best for your space, and remember to have fun with it!


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